Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I have in my studio a box labeled "Unfinished Paintings." Since I work mainly outdoors or en plein air, sometimes the weather or the time of day or a prior commitment means that I must leave the scene without completing a painting.

Today, I opened that box and took out a memory of a sunny day and a Savannah landmark, Polk's Market. Becky, Elaine and I stood in the median of Liberty Street across from the market and painted, attracting onlookers, pedestrians and Mr. Polk himself, curious to see our paintings. I must say that Becky's painting took the prize that day, and mine went home not quite done.

Here is a look at the painting in its unfinished state and a look at its current "finished" state. As finished as it's going to get, anyway!

Finished: Polk's Market, 9X12", Oil on panel

I warmed it up and gave an indication of dappled sunlight on the walls, added some details and finished the lettering on the signs. I think the finishing touches gave it a feeling of summer, with the addition of leaves on the trees, rather than the wintry feel it had before. The leaves seem to form a natural frame for the painting.
What do you think? Should I have left well enough alone? Would you have finished it differently? Is it truly finished?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One afternoon 2 miles above Sea Level

It's been weeks since I posted, but since I finished the mural, I took a trip to Colorado to visit my family there - my son and his kids. They live in Georgetown, which is fully two miles above sea level! That makes it more than 2 miles above the atmosphere I'm used to breathing here in below sea level Florida. There's not much oxygen up there and the air is dry as a desert. It snowed most of the days of my visit and even now it is still snowing almost every day. It seemed like I was on another planet, one where I would need special equipment just to breathe the air.

I was excited about the prospect of painting another kind of landscape and thrilled that my son's house was perched on a mountainside with one wall entirely of glass!
After a trip to H.L. Meinenger's in Denver, I was set to paint en plein air without even going outside!

The first day that the kids were in school, I set up to paint from the living room windows. The view is spectacular and this little painting was my first in months, besides the mural. Unfortunately, it was the only one I was able to complete on this trip, since I was attacked by a virulent fly bug and was laid low for the rest of my time there! I'm just happy that I completed one painting of the view from that mountainside. I used Liquin for a medium and Gamblin Fast-Drying White and the painting was ready to pack when I came home.